Adam Creighton loses head in latest immigration spruik

By Leith van Onselen

The usually sensible Adam Creighton has well and truly joined the ‘Big Australia’ spruikers, doubling down on February’s effort and penning another article warning against any cuts to immigration:

The world’s foremost expert on the economics of cities is bewildered by former prime minister Tony Abbott’s call to halve the ­nation’s immigration intake, ­arguing Australia has an “extraordinary capacity to grow”.

Harvard professor Edward Glaeser said Sydney and Melbourne could have much denser populations that would benefit their economies without compromising quality of life.

“If there’s one country in the world that doesn’t need to worry about adding more people, it’s got to be Australia… you have a huge landmass… You’ve got extraordinary ­capacity to grow.”

Professor Glaeser’s most recent book, The Triumph of the City, ­explains how metropolises underpin innovation and attract the highest skilled workers. “Big cities are fun,” he said…

Professor Glaeser’s colleague at Harvard Business School, William Kerr, said immigrants in the US accounted for at least a quarter of US patents and start-ups, as well as a quarter of science, technology, engineering and mathematics employment…

“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest grater agglomerations of people lead to more productivity,” Professor Glaeser said.

First, the suggestion that Australia is under populated is a classic strawman. Has Glaeser not noticed that, unlike the United States, Australia is mostly arid with little rainfall outside the coastal strip? As noted last month by Bob Carr on Q&A (and supported by Tim Flannery):

… every river on the Australian continent would fit in the Mississippi and the Mississippi wouldn’t notice it. There are geographic limits about Australia and these really do undermine the happy faith we, as Australians, have sometimes invested in decentralisation.

One is water. Don’t forget, in the last drought, that you had inland cities running out of water. It was particularly acute in Goulburn and Canberra, for example. And that is really a restraint on how you could build population in those centres. And, second, decentralisation only works where you have some terrific value-adding industry. An efficient abattoir, for example, or a mine, like the Cadia gold and copper mine in Orange.

Water security is a key limiting factor against Australia having a large population, and yet Glaeser has ignored it entirely.

Moreover, while Australia’s land mass might be huge, the overwhelming majority of migrants don’t see it, instead cramming into already overcrowded cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Secondly, the suggestion that migrants necessarily boost productivity is completely debunked by the evidence. Clearly Glaeser has not seen that Australia has no “skills shortage”, that there is widespread visa rorting going on, and that Australia’s so-called skilled visa system is a giant fraud, whereby:

  • many recently arrived skilled migrants (i.e. arrived between 2011 and 2016) cannot find professional jobs;
  • many skilled migrants have gone into areas that the government’s own Department of Employment has judged to be oversupplied (e.g. accounting and engineering); and
  • migrants have generally worse labour market outcomes than the Australian born population?

Further, when you funnel millions of extra people into the big cities without the infrastructure investment to match – as Australia has done – you necessarily lower productivity, as noted by Ross Gittins:

What economists know but try not to think about – and never ever mention in front of the children – is that immigration carries a huge threat to our productivity.

The unthinkable truth is that unless we invest in enough additional housing, business equipment and public infrastructure to accommodate the extra workers and their families, this lack of “capital widening” reduces our physical capital per person and so reduces our productivity.

Think of it: the very report announcing that our population is projected to grow by 16 million to 40 million over the next 40 years doesn’t say a word about the huge increase in infrastructure spending this will require if our productivity isn’t to fall, nor discuss how its cost should be shared between present and future taxpayers.

Nor has Glaeser considered that the cost of building infrastructure in built-out cities like Sydney and Melbourne to cope with population growth has become increasingly expensive due to dis-economies of scale (e.g. tunelling, land buybacks, water desalination, etc) – a point explicitly noted by the Productivity Commission:

Growing populations will place pressure on already strained transport systems… Yet available choices for new investments are constrained by the increasingly limited availability of unutilised land. Costs of new transport structures have risen accordingly, with new developments (for example WestConnex) requiring land reclamation, costly compensation arrangements, or otherwise more expensive alternatives (such as tunnels).

Finally, the notion that piling millions more people into Sydney and Melbourne will create “grater agglomerations of people” and thereby “lead to more productivity” is deluded and not supported by the data.

The lion’s share of Australia’s export revenue comes from commodities and from Western Australia and Queensland in particular:

However, the majority of Australia’s imports and indeed private debt flows to our biggest states (and cities), New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne), which are also the key magnets for migrants.

So, increasing the number of people via mass immigration does not materially boost Australia’s exports but does significantly increase imports (think flat screen TVs, imported cars, etc.). One only needs to look at both New South Wales and Victoria, which have driven huge trade deficits as the extra imports have far outweighed exports:

All of these extra imports must be paid for – either by accumulating foreign debt, or by selling-off the nation’s assets. Australia has been doing both.

Australia would improve its trade balance and current account deficit, as well as reduce the need to sell-off assets and binge on debt, if it simply reduced immigration.

Australia would still ship the same amount of hard commodities and agriculture regardless of how many people are coming in as all the productive capacity has been set up and it doesn’t require more labour. However, we would import far less.

Essentially, by running a mass immigration program, Australia is diluting its fixed mineral wealth among more people, which necessarily lowers residents’ welfare.

In short, Creighton and Glaeser needs to articulate far better arguments than these if he is to win the immigration debate.

[email protected]

Addendum: Adam Creighton has contacted me and stated that this is a news article that has merely quoted Ed Glaeser and the views expressed do not necessarily represent his own.

Fair enough, but Creighton has clearly aligned himself on the ‘Big Australia’ side of the debate, given recent opinion pieces and his appearances on the Today Show and at the CIE debate. 

Comments

      • J BauerMEMBER

        No the Greens just to go on the telly and yell that Abbott and any else who opposes immigration is racist.

      • @JB I take it you also saw the Press Club speech yesty. The bit where he ignored the point-blank question about immigration and virtue-signalled his way to literal applause was astonishing and tells you all you need to know about the fourth estate.

  1. rj2k000MEMBER

    [many recently arrived skilled migrants (i.e. arrived between 2011 and 2016) cannot find professional jobs]
    I know one Indian woman that was a research assistant in a technical field in an Indian university and could only get a job as a Jaycar sales droid that she’s been doing for 10 years.

    • I went to Jaycar recently. It used to hire Aussies before 2004. But now it can import 3rd world passport holders willing to work for $10/hour while the braindead Greens insist that every nation that is less than 30% foreing-born is “racist”.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      So we lose a job an unemployed local could easily have trained up for while India, a country far, far poorer than say Mexico, loses a technical person who cost a bundle to train up, and all so as to drive our debt powered property ponzi machine. Bloody brilliant isn’t it !

      • And yet this Indian woman is still here 10 years later not working in her field? What is holding her back returning to India? You just got to question some peoples logic unless they are fudging the truth a little …

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        That has occurred to everyone I know who has spoken about the subject. There could be a number of reasons: she exaggerates her credentials to get in. That would be common and it would be hard to check anyway. But it could be individual circumstances – hubby got a good job, they’ve settled down, time passes, and she’s lost touch with her field and her skills are rusty and the competition for such jobs is fierce and especially so if you’re a woman; India is a notoriously patriarchal society; personal reasons like the loss of face going back and starting again – a huge thing in most non western countries, she sees Australia as better for kids’ future, for free medical care, social security and the pension; she’s from a lower caste, etc.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        One of the common reasons they would personally sacrifice their careers to stay here would be to bring their extended family over later, such as parents and grandparents to enjoy the benefits of our welfare system. .

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      The brokenness of our immigration policy writ large is that “skilled” immigrants can be issued visas without jobs already arranged.

      But that’s the kind of system free market fundie thinking leads to, so it’s not surprising.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Precisely. edit though I should add, using visas is a way of stealing trained people from poor countries and suppressing wages and reducing opportunities for those in the more developed countries.

      • DominicMEMBER

        More bollox, smithy? Don’t you tire of it?

        Libertarians are extremely pro free market but anti-immigration (especially in the presence of a welfare system). The broken-ness of our immigration system has everything to do with rotten Govt and nothing to do with free markets. Your perpetual anti-free markets stance simply highlights just how little you know or understand about them.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I can’t think of any aspect of Libertarianism that could be anti-immigration. How does the state preventing individuals relocating to find the most personally beneficial way to leverage their labour, or businesses maximising their profits through on-demand sourcing of higher-skilled/lower-cost labour from wherever the best resources are available, fit into a small-Government, pro-individual, pro-private-industry philosophy ?

        Indeed, my point was that an immigration programme that seeks to minimise Government influence (eg: by not trying to identify and manage “in need” areas aligned to a national strategy, then fabricating immigration policy as needed to align with that) is how you get “skilled immigrants” entering the country without jobs.

        You want an immigration policy where the Government picks winners and losers ? How is that Libertarian ? How is the one we have now, where immigrants choose of their own volition whether or not to immigrate – at no small cost to themselves – based on their belief they can do better, and employers can – broadly speaking – choose whether or not to employ locals or immigrants at will, depending who they think will serve their needs better, NOT representative of the “free market” ?

        What does your “free market” immigration program look like ?

      • Stephen Morris

        The underlying problem here is that self-styled “Libertarians” are actually paternalists. They actually support a strong state to impose their own particular interpretation of what libertarianism should be.

        See for example (ahem) this interesting comment on Thaler and Sunstein’s Nudge site.

        Also, see here for an explanation of “Coasian Symmetry” which undermines the possibility of any positive libertarian philosophy.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Good unpacking in that linked comment, Stephen, I’ve highlighted the core, inherent inconsistency in Libertarianism before (though occasionally you do bump into the really hardcore ones who think even lawmaking and the armed forces should be privatised).

        Though I would argue there *is* a standard Libertarian view: “me want, f*ck you”.

      • Stephen Morris

        lawmaking and the armed forces should be privatised

        The problem there (as alluded to in the Thaler and Sunstein comment) is that the boundary solution ends up being Feudalism or Absolute Monarchy.

        As Louis XIVth famously remarked “L’état, c’est moi.”

        Or Charles Ist upon the scaffold: “A subject and a sovereign are clean different things.”

        Each of them saw the realm as his own private domain.

        Ironically, it was precisely such feudal or absolute monarchical systems that the original libertarians were opposing!!

        Of course, back then the proto-libertarians saw the philosophy as an argument against such absolute power and favouring their own liberties.

        As I have mentioned elsewhere in the comments today, when a theology suits one’s purposes, one tends not to think very carefully about its fatal inconsistencies and contradictions.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Thanks for the posts and links Stephen. Very interesting as always.The argument that libertarianism must end in feudalism or dictatorship should always have been obvious to anybody familiar with history or even just simply with a normal intelligence, but then these guys always argue from ideal axioms in a frictionless world, where people pop into existence from nowhere, with no background, ties, obligations, nada. In short, a totally fantastical world of self sufficient individuals from the word go. One ironical point, as you no doubt know, Louis XIV was laying the basis for the modern state, and a big problem he faced was overcoming the power of the great, trouble making feudal lords.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        The problem there (as alluded to in the Thaler and Sunstein comment) is that the boundary solution ends up being Feudalism or Absolute Monarchy.

        I’ve seen little from libertarians to suggest they’d have much of a problem with either of those, so long as they were arrived at in the correct fashion (ie: through “market forces”).

      • Stephen Morris

        And provided that they themselves ended up as the feudal lords or absolute monarchs.

        The problem with self-serving philosophies is that it’s logically impossible for them to serve everybody.

  2. Another garbage article along with the one in Domainfax yesterday:
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/melbourne-is-a-busy-city-these-days-get-used-to-it-20180329-p4z6yr.html

    “If there’s one country in the world that doesn’t need to worry about adding more people, it’s got to be Australia

    How about Saudi Arabia? A) no forests need to be cut down to build more housing. B) they are building a new city for U$500 billion. C) electricity and land is probably cheaper in the Kingdom. D) they recently built a 450 km long high speed railway while “busy” MEL does not even have a slow speed railway to the airport. E) Riyadh is geographically much closer to Delhi – so when the immigrants visit their relatives, the journey is much faster and cheaper than if the immigrants moved to Sydney.

    It is madness to have mass illegal-wage immigration into SYD when SYD does not even have a curfew-free airport.

    • Crocodile Chuck

      ‘Curfew free airport’

      Hilarious

      Sydney Airport has the highest parking charges of any airport on Earth.

      Thanks, Macquarie!

      • Crocodile Chuck

        @ Ric:

        What airport has the SECOND highest parking charges on Earth?

        A: Ferenc Lizst, Budapest

        Owner: Macquarie Bank

      • If it wasn’t Macquarie, it’d be Westpac, if it wasn’t an Australian bank it’d be an international bank.

        The problem is the rules. Politicians make the rules. Blame the politicians. In this case Howard. Put him in jail and take the family’s wealth.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        What airport has the SECOND highest parking charges on Earth?

        A: Ferenc Lizst, Budapest

        Clearly you haven’t been paying attention. The primary fault never lies with the perpetrator, but with the people who might possibly have stopped them but didn’t.

      • drsmithy

        To think otherwise ignores everything we know about human nature. I wouldn’t expect anyone from the left to understand.

        Go and read about this “tragedy of the commons” and come back and tell me, it’s everyone’s fault but the rule makers.

      • DominicMEMBER

        @Ric
        You’re wasting your time jousting with drsmithy. I’ve never known such an ardent Statist. He is, of course, a public-sector employee so it should be no surprise that he is the Govt’s foremost fluffer. Added to which, he believes he has an extraordinary intellect and yet fails appreciate that his employer (and, by extension, himself) is little more than a parasite that lives off the blood, sweat and tears of the private sector.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        LOL. “Statist”.

        A “statist” is just someone who thinks there should be one more law than you do. Much like an “anarchist” is someone who thinks there should be one fewer.

        As I’ve said more than once, the closest I’ve ever come to working in the public sector was for a University, over fifteen years ago. It doesn’t pay enough.

        Keep pounding the straw men though, they love abuse.

  3. hareebaMEMBER

    The only possible reason a seemingly somewhat objective journalist such as Creighton can write such blatant lies and garbage is because of self interest.

    He likely has a few investment properties and is highly leveraged.

    I mean even the ‘Kouk’ waivered a little yesterday.

    I have him seen on that high quality production, The Drum, (cough) and he is always being ‘bashed up’ by the virtue signallers. Yet here is reading from the hymn sheet. Wtf?

    His above dribble is demented and embarrassing.

    SHAME Creighton. Shame.

  4. “Nor has Creighton”

    That’s because it’s not about reality. It’s about what’s in it for Creighton.

    Exactly the same as every other pro big Australia.

    • Creighton is the same as every other big pro in Australia.

      Sluts, the lot of them.

  5. Big cities are fun, are they? I’m sure you’ll be holidaying in Yokohama next year then?

    • A. When I travel and take the best a city has to offer it’s fun.

      B. When I’m living in a city and battling with everyone else for parking, jobs, space, housing etc. It’s fked.

      The rich only experience A.

      If you’re not rich yet still vote for a big Australia, you’ve got rocks in your head.

  6. reusachtigeMEMBER

    He would be best to concentrate on all the benefits of the increased vibrancy from importing large numbers of human capital if he wishes to win this argument.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Imported human capital is so much more responsive and flexible in serving one’s needs. So superior, so much more energetic than the locally made stuff.

  7. Stephen Morris

    The entire theology of New Economic Geography is fatally flawed. It assumes income to be equal to output. In other words, like so much simplistic economics, it simply ignores economic rent.

    Net incremental output is actually income LESS the economic rent component LESS the deadweight losses incurred in extracting that rent.

    Contrary to the naive theory, the well-documented high incomes of metropolitan centres do not necessarily reflect high efficiency in production. They may reflect highly effective rent-seeking.

    This is true not just of overt rent-seeking of the K Street variety.

    It also includes rent extracted by those professional and commercial networks which rely on “proximity bias”. Proximity bias is a cognitive bias that causes people to favour and reward those who are physically proximate. See, for example, “Out of sight, out of mind. People who work from home are less likely to be promoted”, The Economist, 13th October 2012. (http://www.economist.com/node/21564581)

    It is also true of rents extracted by well-organised voting blocs which achieve outsized influence over government policy, especially under non-democratic (for example, elective) systems of government..

    This is especially relevant to Australia’s Westminster system of “elective dictatorship”.

    Under the Westminster system – with its generally supine Legislature – the Cabinet has vast discretion to disburse economic rents to the Ministers’ favourites. Combined with the proximity bias this creates a powerful centripetal force drawing people in towards the “Fountainhead of Rents”, the Cabinet. Proximity to Cabinet is a “positional good”.

    This phenomenon has been known to historians (but apparently not economists) for centuries. It is the reason that Courtiers had to remain at Court. Absence from Court was a death sentence.

    With the evolution of Absolute Monarchy into the Elective Dictatorship of the modern Westminster system, this effect has not gone away. Court has simply been replaced by Cabinet. Ministers reward those modern-day courtiers – the “primary rent-seekers” – who are physically proximate. Primary rent-seekers need to live within “lunching distance” of the Cabinet.

    The elevated incomes of the primary rent-seekers draws in a second circle of “secondary rent-seekers”, who in turn draw in further circles, the ripple of rents radiating outwards from the “fountainhead”.

    This realpolitik model of metropolitan rent-seeking undermines the naive (and transparently self-serving) theories of economists like Ed Glaeser who argue that cities come into being because of agglomeration efficiencies and should even be subsidised to promote that supposed efficiency.

    To be sure, SOME cities will form due to agglomeration efficiencies. The paragon of this type of city is Silicon Valley where the planet’s highest concentration of intelligent individuals – sharing ideas – are literally re-designing the world we live in. And making fortune.

    Even here, however, the effect is overstated. Even the vast wealth of Silicon Valley relies on:

    a) the system of intellectual property rights which concentrates enormous rents in the hands of a few dominant firms, far in excess of the returns required to attract investment in such fields (hence the “Gold Rush” effect of the 1990s Tech Boom); and

    b) a refusal by governments to uniformly tax economic rents, either directly through Rent Taxes or – as like the Swiss cantons – indirectly through annual tax on the capitalised value of future rents (i.e. a wealth tax).

    But if there is some error in applying New Economic Geography to Silicon Valley, there is vast error in applying it elsewhere. That is simply the Fallacy of Generalising from the Particular.

    Intuitively one might expect that where Executive government has wide discretion (as in the Westminster system) power and wealth would concentrate around that Executive, whereas in those countries with a more powerful Legislature (for example the US) agglomeration efficiencies would prevail.

    We can see the effect in the UK where far-and-away the largest per capita recipient of identifiable public spending (excluding social welfare and agriculture) is not Scotland or Northern Ireland as one might imagine, but London! (https://fullfact.org/news/are-english-paying-lavish-scottish-spending-promises/)

    Of course, the metropolitan apologists argue that Londoners deserve more being spent on them because (as everybody knows; just ask a Londoner) they are the clever, virtuous, hard working (shall we throw in “good looking” as well?) people who “create all the wealth”. Just look at their high incomes!!

    But that is a chicken-and-egg argument. Do Londoners deserve lavish spending because they generate wealth, or are they wealthy because the government lavishes spending on them??

    To give an example, as a child I lived about a mile from Lord’s Bridge Railway Station, the first stop outside Cambridge on the Cambridge-Oxford railway (the so-called “Varsity Line” or “Brain Line Railway”). The Varsity Line was spared the Beeching Axe in 1963 but you won’t find Lord’s Bridge Station on modern maps. That’s because in 1967 the government decreed that money should be dedicated instead to improving the speed of services into and out of the political capital. To go cross country from Oxford (or further south and west) to Cambridge (or further north or east) one would travel to Paddington, cross London by Tube to Liverpool Street, then resume the train journey.

    On 31st December 1967 the Varsity Line was closed, the infrastructure dismantled, and the track bed meticulously ploughed back into the farmland.

    Fifty years later the policy of concentrating traffic through London has necessitated the 18 billion pound Crossrail Project to ease the congestion!

    But hey!! That 18 billion pounds increases the incomes of Londoners, thereby “proving” (at least to people like Ed Glaeser) how productive they are!

    Isn’t economics wonderful??

    Meanwhile back in Australia, we have metropolitan rent-seeking at every level:

    a) at the State level, mineral royalties prop up Brisbane and Perth;

    b) top class health and education facilities are concentrated in the capitals;

    c) arts and sports funding is concentrated in the capitals;

    d) lucrative public works contracts are handed out to Mates in the capitals;

    e) at the federal level, company tax on commodity exporters is disbursed – largely per capita – to the capital cities;

    f) special imposts such as fuel excise act as a “tax on distance”, sucking money out of the regions (and even from the poorer outer suburbs which rely more on car transport) to be disbursed to the capitals;

    g) specific industry protections inflate metropolitan incomes. The policy of mandatory superannuation (for example) is now diverting over $30 billion a year into the hands of Sydney and Melbourne funds managers and their support industries. But just because thousands of people are running around in circles complying with the red tape of a needlessly inefficient pensions system does not mean that they’re producing anything of value. It is properly accounted for as part of the deadweight loss of rent-seeking: a pointless mis-allocation of resources that exists only so that politically powerful rent-seekers can divert income into their pockets; and

    h) the acceptance of oligopolies in major (metropolitan) industries further increases metropolitan incomes.

    And because of all those people crammed into the metropolis, trying to be within “lunching distance” of the Cabinet, we see projects like the $17 billion WestConnex which cost more to build that a green-fields city somewhere else!

    But hey!! That $17 billion increases the incomes of Sydneysiders, thereby “proving” how productive they are!

    Isn’t economics wonderful??

    Of course, an economic theology that tells wealthy and powerful people that their wealth and power is well-deserved (and perhaps should even be subsidies) will be readily accepted by those beneficiaries . . .

    . . . even if the theory is fatally flawed.

    • 58% of the population live in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and their satellite cities. Democracy, as it is practised, means that this city population will continue to impoverish the rest of Australia to fund their outlandish lifestyles. Immigration worsens this situation every year.
      The great catch-cry of ‘opne vote one value’ is just sooo much BS. It amounts to ‘my gang is bigger than your gang’ so I will take all the result of your effort and leave you with sfa
      Again thanks Stephen.

      • Not entirely. Senators are voted in regions. Senators are needed to pass legislation.

        Our Westminster system is full proof. Only the idiotic Australian electorate could manage to fk it up.

      • Ric
        Read what Stephen said. Take your point about Senators being regionally representatives – why is it that 9 of the 12 Qld Senators are in Brisbane or its close satellite cities??? Whose interests are they representing?
        Politics and media are all concentrated in these over-indulged capital cities. Nobody else is represented AT ALL!

      • Stephen Morris

        Ric, under the Westminster system both Senators and Members of the House are eligible to become Ministers exercising real power.

        But the gift of Ministry lies in the hands of the Prime Minister, and it is given in return for unwavering loyalty to the Party. One occasionally finds maverick Senators (and even maverick members of the House) but they are almost always those who have abandoned any hope of Ministerial promotion.

        Regional views may be discussed in the Party Room, and if a regional faction is in the position of Kingmaker (potentially able to dislodge the Prime Minister) then they will be listened to. That is how the Nationals exert influence on the Coalition. But once the Party has come to an agreed position, most members will back it whatever their personal views might be.

        We see this demonstrated numerically in the fact that party members – in both the Senate and the House – almost never cross the floor to vote against the party line.

        This is in marked contrast to those polities which have constitutional separation of powers. For example in the US, except in the rare position where one party controls both Houses (and sometimes even then!) all legislation involves at least one member of one party voting with the other party.

        Significantly, and contrary to popular misconception, separation of powers need NOT involve direct election of the Executive. For example, the Swiss Federal Cabinet is elected by a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament following each Parliamentary election, but members of Cabinet may not be members of Parliament!

        This allows the legislators to focus on the things they should be focusing on: namely legilslation, without regard to their personal advancement to the Ministry.

        Imagine how such a simple change could alter the face of politics in Australia.

      • Running out the door. I want to understand this more, so I’ll be getting back to what you and Steven have said. Thanks.

    • Its interesting when you state the amount of money that needs to be spent on these new infrastructure programs just to make them somewhat useful. Most of these projects I’m sure (e.g in Sydney there’s WestConnex, West Syd Airport, etc) are developers/land bankers/large construction firm dreams. I’m sure there’s a lot of corruption in these projects and the real cost of these is much less than quoted. Plus there’s already crippled infrastructure that if invested in will have more payoff (e.g infrastructure already at use and over capacity). i.e WestConnex won’t fix traffic with projections that it will be full from day one, only 15% of airport traffic comes west of parramatta so why spend 15+ bil out there, etc when with that money you could build whole new cities.

      I suspect these projects are approved due to back handed deals, corruption, giving mates projects, land owners with lobbying access to the government rather than actual economic need so in that I agree with you. From your observation for most people who aren’t in the “inner circle” when the government announces something (infrastructure, policy, etc) treat it with extreme suspicion; they aren’t doing it for you and there’s always losers in any proposal. If your not in the circle of rent-seeking it’s probably at your expense in the long run.

  8. Today’s media headline…….IKEA are expanding. They’ll provide 16000 jobs over the next 20 years.

    Reality…… IKEA pay no tax and will coax politicians into feeding it 100’s of thousands more consumers a year via mass immigration.

    16000 jobs = 16 days population growth.

    • Totally. Not to mention environmental impact of increasing number of consumers of cheap products.

    • No mention of all the jobs destroyed in all the other businesses that they destroy by their financial power. It’s like Coles coming to regional towns and claiming they are going to create 50 jobs!!!!

  9. Stephen Morris

    And from this morning’s “Letters Fairfax Won’t Publish” file:

    4 April 2018

    The Big Australia crowd have changed their tune in the past few weeks. Gone is the pretence that uncontrolled population growth can be achieved without destroying our way of life. Now they’ve switched to declaring that we must just “get used to it” (The Age, 4 April 2018).

    And why? Well apparently, according to Julie Szego, it’s because one simply can’t get a decent cup of coffee in a metropolis of less than 8 million people!

    Having myself lived and worked in the City of London, I have no desire to see Australia go that way. Having endured the daily ritual of being crushed cheek-to-sweaty-cheek on the Tube, I have no wish for our livable cities to become “international cities” (whatever that might mean). And as for coffee, the best I’ve ever had was when living in a small rural town in northern Italy.

    More importantly, I am left wondering when Ms Szego was granted her “Charter from Heaven” to decide this important issue on behalf of everyone else.

    Surely, the fundamental issue of target population is one that should be decided directly by the Australia People in a plebiscite.

    It is, after all, still our country. Isn’t it??

    Stephen Morris

    • “It is, after all, still our country. Isn’t it??”

      Probably not.

      Silent Invasion “From politics to culture, real estate to agriculture, universities to unions, and even in our primary schools, he uncovered compelling evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Australia. Sophisticated influence operations target Australia’s elites, and parts of the large Chinese-Australian diaspora have been mobilised to buy access to politicians, limit academic freedom, intimidate critics, collect information for Chinese intelligence agencies, and protest in the streets against Australian government policy. It’s no exaggeration to say the Chinese Communist Party and Australian democracy are on a collision course. The CCP is determined to win, while Australia looks the other way.”

    • To boot, people in Italy drink the coffee in the shop rather than take it away in ecologically irresponsible single use cups.

      Yet another reason not to have mass illegal-wage immigration into AUS.

  10. “explains how metropolises underpin innovation and attract the highest skilled workers. “Big cities are fun,”

    Yeah well let’s leave Sydney and Melbourne to themselves. How about all the hard working farmers and miners leave the bastards to themselves. Let get their own bloody food. let them work so that they can buy their own SUV’s and monster 4WD’s to drive around on the bitumen streets.
    Moronic stupidity abounds every where and this bloke is a PROFESSOR Bwahahaaaaa!!!! About the same standard as all the damned economics professors in this country.

  11. “So, increasing the number of people via mass immigration does not materially boost Australia’s exports but does significantly increase imports (think flat screen TVs, imported cars, etc.). One only needs to look at both New South Wales and Victoria, which have driven huge trade deficits as the extra imports have far outweighed exports:”

    Bloody bingo!!! All driven by an overvalued dollar that redistributes income from regional and rural areas and productive urban enterprises towards overconsumption by a fat conceited coffee shop arse sittingcity population

    • I just had a thought. Maybe the “experts” never played with boats in streams as kids. Maybe they never rigged up a retic system or did basic plumbing. Maybe they never messed with electrical components on a breadboard and built circuits.

      It’s as if a rudimentary understanding of currents / flows hasn’t been developed.

  12. Always wondered on the drainage with all these new apartments and dense living, EP’s area if he can provide some insights into capacity and if there is risk of flooding

  13. The Harvard professor cites patent outcome of migrants to the US as a reason for high immigration – however it is US industry providing those opportunities. As noted elsewhere, here the more highly talented imports can get a retail job at Jaycar to practice their talents.

  14. Hill Billy 55MEMBER

    Interesting that here in Queensland a private company built an international airport on budget and on time at Toowoomba, which is only 120 kms from Brisbane, yet there is only a single daily train service between the city and Brisbane! To get the perspective, it is three quarters the distance of Newcastle from Sydney.

  15. Mars has a huge landmass. So much room to grow! Off you go Mr Creighton, do us proud.

    • No need to go as far as Mars – what about our Nullarbor? Plenty of room there. Creighton could lead the way.